Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than roasted meat. I absolutely love Cornish Game Hens. They’re like miniature little chickens. In fact, I believe they are indeed a type of chicken, only their species is a cross between two chicken breeds, so they’re smaller in size. They are absolutely perfect for individually sized roasted (mini) chicken dinners.
I’m always buying rotisserie chicken at my local grocery store, but with stay-at-home orders and restrictions due to the current pandemic sweeping our world, it’s just easier to cook food at home.
Cornish game hens are super adorable, and you roast them the same way you would any kind of bird, albeit a chicken or a turkey. They’d be great for a Thanksgiving dinner for one. I served our Cornish game hens with a packet of stuffing mix, though if you had time, you could homemade stuffing.
I roast my Cornish game hen over a bed of carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and a squeeze of lime. After the game hen is out of the oven, I make a gravy out of the vegetables. The result is absolutely amazing. So delicious, and a comforting dinner on a cold spring evening.
Roasted Cornish Hens with Mushroom, Carrot, and Celery Gravy
- 4 Cornish game hens, rinsed and dried
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp salt (to taste), divided
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
- 1 lb Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and whole
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 2 springs fresh rosemary (if available, optional)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a large bowl, pour olive oil on the Cornish game hens. Using your hands, massage the oil all over the hens.
- Season the inside of the game hens generously with salt. Stuff each with a piece of carrot, celery, and onion.
- In a large roasting pan, spread out the sliced mushrooms, chopped carrots, celery, whole garlic, onions and rosemary. Lay the Game Hens on top of the herbs and vegetables.
- Squeeze a little bit of lime on each hen. Then sprinkle the dried herbs on top of each (more salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste), garlic powder, lemon-pepper seasoning, Herbs de Provence).
- Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F and the juices run clear.
- Remove the hens from the oven and place on a tray. Loosely tent with foil and let rest before serving.
- If your roasting pan is safe to cook on the stovetop, put it over two burners and turn the heat to medium-low. It's time to make the yummy gravy! If you do not have a stovetop friendly roasting pan, scoop out all the fat, juices, vegetables, and mushrooms and place it in a saucepan.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to stir until the gravy is thick to your liking. This may take 5-10 minutes.
- Serve the Cornish Game Hens with your favorite sides. Ladle the stuffing on top.